It may seem like a trivial matter, but the NBC News report claiming that the son of Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser is a “subject” of Robert Mueller’s probe is a big deal. This thread below from a former federal prosecutor explains why the word “subject” is so important.
NBC’s report doesn’t explain exactly what Flynn Jr. is under investigation for, and the most information we get on that is the “inquiry into Flynn is focused at least in part on his work with his father’s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, three of the officials said.”
One possible hint as to what the Flynn Jr. investigation entails may come from a Bloomberg report, which states that Mueller’s probe now has a “red-hot” focus on Russian influence via social media. The reason why Flynn Jr. comes to mind when reading that story is because of his social media presence—especially on Twitter—and the fact that he has pushed thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories that fit the model of what comes out of the Kremlin’s disinformation machine. Flynn Jr. was fired shortly after Trump’s election when a man walked into a D.C. pizza joint that he thought was filled with child sex slaves, and fired an assault rifle. Flynn Jr. was one of the most prominent people elevating this conspiracy theory known as “pizzagate.”
His father also pushed this bullshit on social media.
There’s no concrete proof that the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory came from Russian circles, but we know for a fact that the Russians set up a massive disinformation campaign to hurt Hillary Clinton, and this conspiracy theory accused her of running a child sex ring. Given that Bloomberg reported that the Russian investigation is escalating in an area where Michael Flynn Jr. had a very public profile—and the fact that both stories came out within an hour of each other—it’s hard not to link these two.
It very well could just be a coincidence, and I want to stress that there is absolutely no proven connection between these two stories—this is just my two cents—but given Michael Flynn Jr.’s social media presence as a conduit for conspiracy theories, it seems reasonable to expect that he was raised to the level of “subject” as Mueller uncovered something in the case to give him a “red-hot” focus on social media. Bottom line: between these two stories and the insane WSJ report that the elder Flynn was working on a “Marshall Plan” to build nuclear power plants throughout the middle east with the help of Russian firms while working in the White House, it seems safe to say that this will not be the last we hear of Robert Mueller’s investigation into people named Michael Flynn.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.